EC warning to car rental firms

Leading car rental companies told to stop charging online customers more for renting a car in another EU member states

11 August 2014

THE EUROPEAN Commission has warned six leading car rental companies operating in France to stop discriminatory practices against consumers renting a car online.

The EC revealed that it has written to Sixt, Enterprise, Goldcar, Europcar, Hertz and Avis following numerous complaints from consumers.

The letter cited the case of a German traveller, who noticed that the price for renting a car in Britain doubled if they tried to rent it online from home than if they rented in the UK.

According to reports, the situation is similar for people looking to rent vehicles online across all EU member states, including France.

The director general for Internal Market and Services Jonathan Faull wrote in the letter: "The Commission regularly receives complaints from consumers who, because of their country of residence, are not able to access the most attractive price when booking online within the European Union or in a country belonging to the European Economic Area.”

The six companies were warned that such practices run contrary to the notion of a single EU market, the Commission said.

The companies’ websites recognise the IP address - the unique code which indicates what country the customer is from - of anyone who logs on to their sites and automatically re-routes them to different web pages where more expensive prices are offered.

The Commission said that some companies have responded “satisfactorily”, but said three companies — Europcar, Hertz and Avis — had failed to respond to the letter, which was sent last month, with an “effective and comprehensive review” of their practices. They have until August 30 to respond.

Photo: Alquiler de Coches

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